Scotland Travel Guide
Scotland Economy and Infrastructure
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Pacific Quay on the River Clyde, an example of the regeneration of Glasgow and the diversifying Scottish economy
Scotland has a western style open mixed economy which is closely linked with that of the rest of Europe and the wider world. Traditionally, the Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy industry underpinned by the shipbuilding in Glasgow, coal mining and steel industries. Petroleum related industries associated with the extraction of North Sea oil have also been important employers from the 1970s, especially in the north east of Scotland. De-industrialisation during the 1970s and 1980s saw a shift from a manufacturing focus towards a more service-oriented economy. Edinburgh is the financial services centre of Scotland and the sixth largest financial centre in Europe in terms of funds under management, behind London, Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich and Amsterdam, with many large finance firms based there, including: the Royal Bank of Scotland; HBOS (owners of the Bank of Scotland); and Standard Life.
In 2005, total Scottish exports (excluding intra-UK trade) were provisionally estimated to be £17.5 billion, of which 70% (£12.2 billion) were attributable to manufacturing. Scotland's primary exports include whisky, electronics and financial services. The United States, The Netherlands, Germany, France and Spain constitute the country's major export markets. In 2006, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Scotland (excluding oil and gas production from 'Scottish' waters) was just over £86 billion, giving a per capita GDP of £16,900.
Tourism is widely recognised as a key contributor to the Scottish economy. A briefing published in 2002 by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, (SPICe), for the Scottish Parliament's Enterprise and Life Long Learning Committee, stated that tourism accounted for up to 5% of GDP and 7.5% of employment.
As of November 2007 the unemployment rate in Scotland stood at 4.9%—lower than the UK average and that of the majority of EU countries.
The most recent government figures suggest that Scotland would be in budget surplus to the tune of more than £800m if it received its geographical share of North Sea revenues. The net fiscal balance, which is the budget balance plus capital investment, reported a deficit of £2.7 billion (2.1% of GDP) including Scotland's full geographical share of North Sea revenue, or a £10.2bn deficit if the North Sea share is excluded.
Although the Bank of England is the central bank for the UK, three Scottish clearing banks still issue their own Sterling banknotes: the Bank of Scotland; the Royal Bank of Scotland; and the Clydesdale Bank. The current value of the Scottish banknotes in circulation is £1.5 billion.
Scotland has five main international airports (Glasgow International, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow Prestwick and Inverness) which together serve 150 international destinations with a wide variety of scheduled and chartered flights. BAA operates three airports, (Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen), and Highland and Islands Airports operates 11 regional airports, which serve the more remote locations of Scotland. Infratil operates Glasgow Prestwick.
The Scottish motorways and major trunk roads are managed by Transport Scotland. The rest of the road network is managed by the Scottish local authorities in each of their areas.
Regular ferry services operate between the Scottish mainland and island communities. These services are mostly run by Caledonian MacBrayne, but some are operated by local councils. Other ferry routes, served by multiple companies, connect to Northern Ireland, Belgium, Norway, the Faroe Islands and also Iceland.
Network Rail Infrastructure Limited owns and operates the fixed infrastructure assets of the railway system in Scotland, while the Scottish Government maintains overall responsibility for rail strategy and funding in Scotland. Scotland’s rail network has around 340 railway stations and 3,000 kilometres of track with over 62 million passenger journeys made each year.
Scotland's rail network is managed by Transport Scotland. The East Coast and West Coast Main Railway lines and the Cross Country Line connect the major cities and towns of Scotland with each other and with the rail network in England. Domestic rail services within Scotland are operated by First ScotRail. Furthermore in Glasgow there is a small intergrated subway system which has been in existence since 1896. There are currently 15 stations and there is a daily ridership of just under 40,000. There are plans to extend the subway system in time for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The East Coast Main Line includes that section of the network which crosses the Firth of Forth via the Forth Bridge. Completed in 1890, this cantilever bridge has been described as "the one internationally recognised Scottish landmark".
Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia
Hotels and Resorts in Scotland, Europe
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